Shelf Styling 101

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

Skill Level

WORDS BY Design Ops

Fill 1Created with Sketch.

Published on August 29, 2017

We all want that perfectly polished yet relaxed and effortlessly styled bookcase, but achieving it can be a daunting task.  How do you know if you have too many books?  And when do you know if you’ve found the right spot for your favorite gold vase?  No sweat – we’ve outlined a few simple steps to showcase your home’s personality with bookshelf curation that’s uniquely you.

Start with your books.

Sounds like a no-brainer, right?  This straightforward step is the building block for your shelving display, and it’s important to start off on the right foot.  Place your books in horizontal and vertical groupings, varying the size of your book stacks. Stack larger books in groups of 2-4, lean some books against the bookshelf frame, and use bookends to anchor smaller books.

Pro tip:  bring the books to the front edge of the shelf rather than pushing them to the back for a fuller look.

Choose a color palette.

Whether you’re a black and white purist or an eclectic collector who definitely doesn’t judge a book by its cover, you’ll want to determine the color palette you’ll be working with before you start arranging your shelves.  Keeping a consistent color palette is a surefire way to end up with styling that’s truly in sync with the rest of your room.

Think big.

Place your largest objects first and use them as anchors for the rest of your shelf styling.  Maybe your coffee table sized books are the largest pieces, or maybe you have some large vases or artwork?  Find a home for these large pieces first and we promise, the rest of your styling will fall into place.

Focus on the details.

Create small groupings with your remaining vases and objects, and begin placing them on the shelves.  Remember to vary the height and the number of objects in each grouping!  Mix textures and layers to create a book that feels as though it’s been a part of the house since the day you moved in.

Soak it all in.

Take a step back and make small adjustments until you have a balance of color, texture, and material across the entire shelving unit.

The key to a perfectly styled shelf is taking time to edit and rearrange until your books, artwork, and accessories just fall into place.  Not sure where to start?  Take our fun style quiz and get matched with your perfect designer.